The emails you send your clients, suppliers, and colleagues reflect closely on who you are as a person. If you mostly work at a distance from these figures, then your email is the daily face of you that they will see. It will form their mental image of you. Particularly towards the start of a working relationship, then, it is important to make the right impression by crafting emails that are polite, professional, considerate, and effective.
As time goes on, it is important to keep your standards up, especially in more formal working relationships. Even informal email relationships benefit from good etiquette, because an email that follows the accepted conventions is easier to understand and to take action upon.
So what are these standards, and how can you use them to improve the emails that you send? Well, you can begin by remembering that most professional people receive dozens or even hundreds of emails per day. For this reason, it is important to keep your message brief, to the point, and with a clear call to action.
It is also a good idea to make sure your grammar is correct. People who get a lot of emails have to read them in a hurry. Bad grammar makes it more likely that they will misunderstand you. If you struggle with grammar, spelling, or punctuation, use your email software’s inbuilt checking facilities, or a 3rd party service such as Grammarly.
You can make your email more readable still, by formatting it considerately. Don’t use overlong sentences. Break your text into brief paragraphs of 2-3 lines each, and leave a space between each paragraph.
Nobody wants to read a big block of dense text!
Bullet points or lists make it easier for a reader to get to the main points of your message. This is particularly useful if there are a number of issues that need addressing, or actions that you require to be taken. You should close your message with a clear call to action, and include mention of whether (and when) you expect a reply to your email.
A standard signature at the bottom is a good way to create a professional impression, and also to make it easy for the recipient to contact you. A phone number means they can reach you in a hurry, or to clarify a complex point. And an appropriate quote or link to a recent achievement can help give an idea of the kind of way you like to work.
This excellent new infographic from The Business Backer provides a full breakdown of the perfect business email. Apply it to the next email you send, and you will soon start to appreciate the benefits of making your mail clear, efficient, and professional.